At the Swiss Reinsurance annual Economic Forum this week in London, Swiss Re’s chief economists provided the marketplace with predictions that the industry overall will show signs of recovery, albeit fragile, in 2010 and into 2011.

In a presentation, Swiss Re’s economists explored how the (re)insurance industry has weathered the financial crisis over the past year, the lessons learned from 2009 and the outlook for world (re)insurance as it approaches 2010. Swiss Re’s Chief Economist in Asia, Clarence Wong, also noted that special attention should be paid to emerging markets in the coming year. During the presentation, Matthias Weber, member of Swiss Re’s Executive Board and head of property and specialty, discussed various aspects of the growing natural catastrophe insurance business.

Swiss Re’s economists predict that insurance and reinsurance is positioned for growth, and will continue to show signs of recovery, albeit fragile, in 2010—accelerating modestly into 2011. As Chief Economist Thomas Hess noted, “the crisis was proof of the resilience of the global insurance industry. Insurance and reinsurance functioned routinely throughout the crisis, even at the peak of this extremely severe financial situation, meeting their claims obligation fully and without delay.”

On the life and health side of the industry, the growth will be positive, but sluggish in both life and non-life insurance, says the company. Though the balance sheets of non-life, and particularly life insurers have improved since March 2009, Swiss Re’s economists believe that this outlook may be muted by looming regulatory changes and the increasing trend for higher claims in catastrophic events—a trend that is increasing driven by climate change.


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